Ensuring that property ownership is transferred

If you’re buying or selling a home you’ll need to legally transfer the ownership of the property, this is called conveyancing and is managed by a solicitor on your behalf.

Ensuring that property ownership is transferred

If you’re buying or selling a home you’ll need to legally transfer the ownership of the property, this is called conveyancing and is managed by a solicitor on your behalf.

What is conveyancing?

If you have had an offer accepted on your property, you must instruct a conveyancer to deal with the sale of the property.

This will usually be a solicitor, but you can instruct a licensed converyancer or property lawyer. You must also ensure that they are fully regulated by the Solicitors Regulations Authority or the Council for Licensed conveyancers.

The 10 Stages You Need To Know


The conveyancer will open the purchase file and send you a letter explaining the terms of business, this file will include basic details, such as your contact details, date of birth and national insurance number.

You will also be asked for your estate agents details, your mortgage details and a valid photo ID such as a passport or driving licence.

At this stage, you will be provided with an estimated fixed fee. Please note this fee can increase if the legal work becomes more complex.


Local Authority searches will be carried out to uncover any potential issues such as public rights of way, purchase orders or enforcement notices for the property. This process can take weeks to complete, so we advise that you pay your solicitor / conveyancer to do this for you.


Your solicitor will then ask your estate agents for a notification of the sale (sometimes known as a memorandum of sale) which contains the solicitor details for each party. Your solicitor will then contact the other involved solicitors to let them know they have been instructed to act for you.


When the seller’s solicitor has the draft contract, they will send it along with a copy of the Title (or ‘Deeds’) for the property, to the buyers solicitor.

If the property has been sold once since 1990, the Deeds will be electronically recorded with the Land Registry (these are available online). If the property hasn’t been sold during this period, only hard copies can be provided. Alongside the draft contract and Deeds, the solicitor will be sent the property’s protocol documents, which include;

  • A seller’s property information form (the seller must disclose all property details).
  • A fitting’s and contents form which outlines what will be left and removed as part of the sale.
  • A leasehold information form, this will list all factors such as the amount of ground rent payable, contact details for freeholders or management company.

Make sure your solicitor checks everything thoroughly, then again…….. then again!


When both solicitors have thoroughly checked everything over, you will receive all the documents to sign and return. These documents can be sent in the post or most commonly by email.

Documents such as the instruction form and seller’s property information form will be allowed to be returned by email, other documents such as the Deeds will be require an original signature.


Your solicitor will ask for a deposit of 10% of the purchase price (unless a different percentage mortgage has been agreed, then the difference is due).

These payments are normally made by an online bank transfer, alternatively you can make payment in other ways (such as CHAPS).


The seller’s solicitor will now discuss a convenient date for completion and moving day, the date will be agreed by both the seller and buyer’s solicitor.

There are often difficulties agreeing on a convenient date, however, being willing to compromise is one of the best ways to avoid delays.


The sellers at the top of the chain will need to first have their contract released and ready for exchange, once the process starts it will cascade down the chain and be concluded within the time frame agreed upon.

The deposit will have already cleared in the solicitor’s account and will be paid to the seller on the exchange of contracts, at this point the purchase becomes legally binding.


Once the solicitor has sent the completion statement, any outstanding balance is due to be paid. The outstanding balance includes, stamp duty, third party fees and cost of legal work. The solicitor will also request the balance of the mortgage amount from the bank or building society.

Once the cash has landed with the seller’s solicitors, they will telephone to confirm completion and authorise the estate agents to release the keys.


After all the formalities are done and the keys have been handed over, the solicitor’s job isn’t over yet. They will have to log the change of ownership with the Land Registry.

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